Author Topic: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?  (Read 12172 times)

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Offline Rodney_G.

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The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« on: February 01, 2012, 05:55:57 PM »
 The War 1914-1918.

  Most of us, worldwide, and in whatever language,  call  the war of  1914-1918 World War I  or , less frequently now, the Great War. It was obviously not thought of as the First World War until the battles of 1939, maybe even up to 1941, gave it "First" status.
I know pretty soon after 1918, in the British Empire, and I believe more widely in the Western world,it was called the Great War  or simply "the war".  It seems the term "the Great War" had a lot more emotive content for Britons and probbly for the French and Germans as well in the years after 1918 than the term Second World War does now .

Did the other belligerent nations have different terms for it, either during it or in the years after? Obviously the participant nations each had their own  unique experience of it that may have colored how it was commonly referrred to.
And of course the political  far left called it the Imperialist War for ideological reasons, but that term was never widely used.
Does anyone know when , more or less exactly , the 1914-1918 War  became the First? It might have been a little disconcerting, after 1939, or 1941, to have the expression "the war" refer to a different conflict.
Rodney G.

Offline edubs31

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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2012, 11:38:05 PM »
Rodney I'm aware of a few defunct titles...

- The War in Europe
- The War of Nations
- The War of 1914 (or maybe just called the "1914 War")
- The War to make the world safe for Democracy

The last one is quite a mouthful, and I'm not sure where any of these specific references emanate from exactly. But I know I've seen WWI references by these titles, and probably others...
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Offline feodorovna

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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2012, 01:25:45 AM »
There is also "The war to end all wars"

Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2012, 03:07:26 PM »
There is also "The war to end all wars"
True, but that term was pretty naive even at the time, and by 1939 would be a term of mockery almost at those who still used it.
Rodney G.

Offline Gerta

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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2012, 04:12:13 PM »
The terms "World War I and World War II" were not used in the U.S. until after 1945.  During the 1920's and 30's the first war was commonly referred to as "the war".  Into the late 1930's and after the invasion of Poland in 1939, the Americans referred to the "war in Europe".   When the U.S. entered in 1941, it really was a world war but again, it was referred to as "the war". It wasn't until after the surrender of the Japanese in 1945 that the term WWI and WWII were used and I think that came from one of the major news magazines (Time or Newsweek) that started it.  When I lived in France, the french referred to the first war as "the war of 14-18" and then "the second war".  Correct me if I'm wrong but I think in Russia WWII is referred to as "the great patriotic war".

Offline historyfan

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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2012, 08:48:15 PM »
You're correct about "Great Patriotic War".

Despite the violence of the 20th century, when people talk about "the war", there's usually no question that they're referring to WWII.

Offline Clemence

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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2012, 01:39:12 PM »
a curious fact is that Italian people always talk about the '15-'18 war because Italy entered the war in 1915.
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2012, 04:19:02 AM »
In Britain, the First World War was 'the Great War' or simply 'the War', up to 1939, if not later.

These days, the Second World War is 'the War'.

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Offline jehan

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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2012, 06:40:02 PM »
The Finns refer to World War 11 as "The Continuation War"- at least the part after 1941. Before that was the Winter War against the USSR.
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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2012, 01:31:11 PM »
Wilson asked for a declaration of war on April 2; Congress complied four days later. The president quickly emerged as a skilled wartime leader by molding public opinion with such optimistic phrases as “a war to make the world safe for democracy” and “a war to end all wars"

http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1108.html

Offline violetta

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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2012, 05:01:21 PM »
It was called "The Great war". definitely the Great war. In Poland, before WW II, it was traditionally dubbed "Wielka wojna", i.e. the Great war.

Offline Russian Art Lover

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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2012, 01:40:37 PM »
You're correct about "Great Patriotic War".

Despite the violence of the 20th century, when people talk about "the war", there's usually no question that they're referring to WWII.

What is interesting is that, during WWI itself, it was known in Russia as.... the Great Patriotic War!

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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2012, 02:27:25 PM »
Are you sure ? The term Great Patriotic War generally refers to the war of 1941 to 1945 between Russia and Germany.  I appeared in Pravda in 1941.
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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2012, 04:01:46 PM »
You're right, Robert. "The Great Patriotic War" was the Russian war of 1941-45, not the First World War of 1914-1918.
Rodney G.

Offline Russian Art Lover

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Re: The War, 1914-1918: What was it called? And when?
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2012, 06:20:41 PM »
Are you sure ? The term Great Patriotic War generally refers to the war of 1941 to 1945 between Russia and Germany.  I appeared in Pravda in 1941.

Yes, but there was the Patriotic War first in 1812, right? So what did they decide to do when a war started in 1914? Of course they called it the "Great Patriotic War" at the time. But now everyone has forgotten that, because when the Soviets took over, the Great War was known as the "German War" or the "Imperialist War" and the 1941-45 is now the Great Patriotic War. But back in the years 1914-17, WWI was known in Imperial Russia as the "Great Patriotic War"!
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